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Palliat Med. 2015 Jul;29(7):633-42. doi: 10.1177/0269216315575850. Epub 2015 Mar 31.

Burnout, psychological morbidity and use of coping mechanisms among palliative care practitioners: A multi-centre cross-sectional study.

Author information

1
Department of Palliative Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore mervyn_koh@ttsh.com.sg.
2
HCA Hospice Care, Singapore.
3
Department of Palliative Medicine, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Singapore.
4
Assisi Hospice, Singapore.
5
National University Cancer Institute, Singapore, Singapore.
6
Dover Park Hospice, Singapore.
7
Department of Palliative Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The prevalence of burnout, psychological morbidity and the use of coping mechanisms among palliative care practitioners in Singapore have not been studied.

AIM:

We aimed to study the prevalence of burnout and psychological morbidity among palliative care practitioners in Singapore and its associations with demographic and workplace factors as well as the use of coping mechanisms.

DESIGN:

This was a multi-centre, cross-sectional study of all the palliative care providers within the public healthcare sector in Singapore.

SETTING/PARTICIPANTS:

The study was conducted in hospital palliative care services, home hospice and inpatient hospices in Singapore. The participants were doctors, nurses and social workers.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of burnout among respondents in our study was 91 of 273 (33.3%) and psychological morbidity was 77 (28.2%). Working >60 h per week was significantly associated with burnout (odds ratio: 9.02, 95% confidence interval: 2.3-35.8, p = 0.002) and psychological morbidity (odds ratio: 7.21, 95% confidence interval: 1.8-28.8, p = 0.005). Home hospice care practitioners (41.5%) were more at risk of developing psychological morbidity compared to hospital-based palliative care (17.5%) or hospice inpatient care (26.0%) (p = 0.007). Coping mechanisms like physical well-being, clinical variety, setting boundaries, transcendental (meditation and quiet reflection), passion for one's work, realistic expectations, remembering patients and organisational activities were associated with less burnout.

CONCLUSION:

Our results reveal that burnout and psychological morbidity are significant in the palliative care community and demonstrate a need to look at managing long working hours and promoting the use of coping mechanisms to reduce burnout and psychological morbidity.

KEYWORDS:

Burnout; psychological morbidity and use of coping mechanisms among palliative care practitioners: A multi-centre cross-sectional study

PMID:
25829444
DOI:
10.1177/0269216315575850
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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